Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party officials in Migori County have endorsed former Cabinet minister Ochillo Ayacko as the party's flagbearer for the county's senatorial seat.
On Monday, seven executive branch officials from eight constituencies in the county and 14 from the county executive branch met at the county headquarters in Migori to endorse a preferred candidate out of the ten who have shown interest in the party's ticket.
Mr Ayacko was endorsed with 44 votes followed by former Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga who got two with businessman Eddy Oketch getting one.
The results are to be presented to the party’s electoral board to decide, by July 27, who will be ODM’s flagbearer in the by-elections.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has set October 8 as the date for the by-election and political parties are required to present their candidates by July 26.
The seat fell vacant after the death of Senator Ben Oluoch last month.
Other candidates including former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno, former Migori MP John Pesa, former Migori speaker Gordon Ogolla, educationist Solomon Hodo, Ogola Ogola, David Osiany and John Magaiwa did not get any votes.
The late senator's eldest son, Willis Okech, and his cousin, Mark Okundi, who have been embroiled in family standoff over who should be the heir, were not voted for either.
“The results were first transmitted to the national executive council today before we made it public in a peaceful voting process,” county ODM chairman Philip Makabong’o said.
Mr Makabong’o said they undertook the process after the party headquarters instructed them to help them pick the best candidate through direct nominations away from the ballot.
County ODM Secretary Joseph Olala said the county electoral college voting is a requirement according to the party rules because it will assist the party NEC to know the suitable candidate to give the ticket.
“The voting was done in a free and fair manner,” Mr Olala said.
Various sources reveal that the party is keen on handing Mr Ayacko a direct ticket.
Political observers contend that the branch electoral college voting is just a formality with the aim being to prepare the ground for Mr Ayacko's endorsement.
During the senator’s burial, ODM leader Raila Odinga initiated a handshake between Mr Ayacko and Governor Okoth Obado ostensibly to tone down their fierce political rivalry that was characterised by intense violence.
Last week Mr Ayacko withdrew his election petition at the Court of Appeal in Kisumu which he had filed against Governor Obado.
ODM’s national executive council is expected to give its final decision on July 26.